HUD Launches ‘Fair Housing’ Ads, Cites ‘Religious Discrimination,’ ‘Neighborhoods With Mosques’

April 4, 2013 - 9:27 PM

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. (CNSNews.com photo/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is launching an advertising campaign to “educate the public” about housing discrimination, saying there is a “persistence of discrimination based on religion.”

 

The public service announcement campaign will feature television, radio and print ads in English, Spanish, and Chinese around the theme “Fair Housing is Your Right, Use It.”  HUD has observed April as “Fair Housing Month” since 1969.

In a press release announcing the media campaign, HUD said it is designed to “educate the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.”

The campaign will encourage individuals to file complaints under the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which made it illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of housing based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability.

Housing discrimination complaints are reviewed by “fair housing specialists” to determine if it there is a violation of the law.

HUD will also implement its iPhone app that it unveiled in February into the campaign, which allows individuals a “quick and easy way” to file housing discrimination complaints on their mobile phones.

In addition, the campaign will advertise print ads that feature several scenarios of individuals and families facing discrimination based on their race, religion or disability.

 

Housing Starts

In this Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, photo a new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

A Muslim woman wearing a hijab is the subject of one ad that says, “Is religious discrimination keeping you out of the home of your dreams?”

 

The ad then tells people to look out for these “possible signs” of housing discrimination: “I’ll show you neighborhoods with mosques”; “We only take people who speak English clearly”; and “You might be more comfortable living elsewhere.”

HUD said the poster of the woman “wearing traditional Muslim headdress highlights the persistence of discrimination based on religion.”

Another depicts a Hispanic family with the caption, “They told us to ‘live someplace else.’”  “We have rights.  We called HUD,” the ad states.

A separate ad features an African-American boy with the caption, “How can we tell him that the color of his skin is keeping his family from the home of its dreams?”

The ads display HUD’s fair housing website and its phone hotline.

The PSAs will run in advertising space and in time-slots donated by the media.  The radio ads will be featured on more than 3,500 radio stations and networks throughout the country.

 

HUD Launches ‘Fair Housing’ Ads, Cites ‘Religious Discrimination,’ ‘Neighborhoods With Mosques’

(AP Photo)

“Forty-five years since the passage of the Fair Housing Act, unlawful discrimination continues to keep many individuals and families from obtaining the housing of their choice,” said John Trasviña, the HUD assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

 

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to teach people that they have the power to fight housing discrimination and that contacting a local fair housing center or HUD is the first step in that process,” said Shanna L. Smith, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, who is partnering with HUD for the campaign.

HUD also said it will unveil new online videos of real-life stories of individuals who went to the agency for help after they faced housing discrimination.  “One woman talks about how she was discriminated against because she was hard of hearing,” HUD explains, “while another shares her story of how a landlord denied her an apartment because she has children.”

Inquiries to HUD for comment were not answered before this story was posted.